With a new administration now firmly in place, the President has wasted no time in appointing new chairs of the National Labor Relations Board and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The EEOC has the details on the first appointment of Stuart Ishimaru as Acting Chair:
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that President Barack Obama has appointed Stuart J. Ishimaru as Acting Chairman of the EEOC and Christine M. Griffin as Acting Vice Chair.
Ishimaru, whose term expires on July 1, 2012, has been a Commissioner since November 2003. He was confirmed by the U.S. Senate for a second term at the EEOC in December 2007. During his tenure, Ishimaru has primarily focused on large, systemic cases and in reinvigorating the agency’s work on race discrimination issues. He also played an instrumental role in the EEOC’s adoption of groundbreaking guidance on gender discrimination against workers with caregiving responsibilities.
The President has also tapped Wilma Liebman as the new Chairman of the NLRB. Details can be found in the NLRB’s press release here. Several blogs are suggesting that Ms. Liebman’s appointment will signal a shift towards union-friendly decisions. As one blog recently said:
President Obama has designated Wilma B. Liebman as the Chairman of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). As an ardent supporter of unions and a vocal critic of right to work laws and recent NLRB decisions promoting an employee’s ability to reject unionization, Liebman will surely take the NLRB in a new direction – and one that is not necessarily favorable to employers.
First appointed by former President Clinton, Liebman has served on the Board since November 14, 1997. Prior to joining the NLRB, Liebman worked at the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service as Special Assistant to the Director and then as Deputy Director. In addition, Liebman has worked as a lawyer for the NLRB, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftsman. She is also an elected member of the Executive Board of the Industrial Relations Research Association and of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Inc. ….
It is evident by this passage that Liebman views with disdain the “political influence” of the business community. As Chairman of the NLRB, it can be reasonably expected that she will direct the Board’s energies to enforcing labor laws, promoting collective bargaining, and issuing rulings that effectively overturn a number of Bush-era NLRB rulings that organized labor and some Democratic Senators are determined to reverse. Moreover, if the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is ever enacted, the NLRB will have the regulatory opportunity to shape how the new law will operate in practice in a way that is favorable to organized labor. As a proponent of unions, Liebman will surely do just that if given the opportunity.